There are times electric car ownership can be a real pain in the plug-in, particularly when there's no charging station nearby. Eight states hope to change that, promoting electric car ownership in the process, by making it easier to find a charging station, among other perks.
The eight-state coalition includes California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Vermont--a group that makes up about a quarter of U.S. new car sales. And to make sure at least some of those sales involve electric vehicles, the states are promising more charging stations, carpool lane access, cheaper tolls and free parking.
The goal, announced as part of the Multi-State Zero Emission Vehicles Action Plan unveiled last week: Get drivers behind the wheel of 3.3 million electric vehicles by 2025. "We're putting a foot on the pedal to get more clean cars on the road," said California Governor Jerry Brown, "This is real action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
With studies confirming that EV owners tend to be more affluent than other car buyers, the multi-state coalition plans to make electric vehicles more affordable by supporting state and federal tax credits. They are also considering offering rebates at the car dealerships at the time cars are bought.
Besides the sticker price, though, a big barrier to electric car adoption remains available charging stations. The coalition supports funding and planning charging stations, especially along interstate highways such as the I-95 in the Northeast and the I-5 that runs from Washington to the California-Mexico border. The coalition plans to create "uniform signage" to make finding charging stations easier.
For those who like driving in the fast lane, some states will offer programs to allow access to carpool lanes, even if it's just a driver in the car. Other incentives include reduced tolls for bridges or toll roads and electric bill discounts. And ZEV drivers could be in line for preferential parking with free or reduced fees at government-owned buildings, parking lots, and other properties. The coalition also plans to lead by example, increasing ZEVs in state, municipal, and other public fleets.
The action plan is the result of an agreement signed last year by the governors of the eight state to work together on promoting adoption of zero-emission vehicles which the reports touts as "critical to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lessen the impact of climate change." The coalition also cites economic benefits for consumers due to lower operating costs as well as new jobs and economic development for the states. ZEV vehicles include plug-in electric vehicles, plugin-hybrid electric vehicles, and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles.